Archive for July, 2009

Web Site of the Week: Oras Designs

Monday, July 20th, 2009
Ovals wall art from

Ovals wall art from

This week’s Web site for inspiration is It’s a pretty niche site, but you may enjoy it if you like modern design. I would love to have the Squares, Ovals, or Stripes wall art in my home. Granted, I’ll probably re-create the look for much less using papers I have on hand, but I love the Oras originals because of the weight and structure the metal adds.

Land Sweet Land: The Parable of This Little Lot of Mine

Sunday, July 19th, 2009

This Little Lot of MineI bought a lot last week. “A lot of what?” you might ask. My response: a lot.

No, really, I bought a lot, or as Merriam-Webster defines it, “a portion of land; a measured parcel of land having fixed boundaries and designated on a plot or survey.”

That’s right. I am officially a property owner. The little pile of dirt in the photo at left is now mine. Well, technically it still belongs to the bank, but it will be mine eventually. I’ve been eyeing this piece of property for about a year and a half, but it was too expensive. With the slowing economy, the price finally dropped to a rate I could afford.

I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve driven by it over the last 18 (or more?) months, hoping upon hope that I could eventually call it home. I feel so blessed and grateful that it ended up in my hands. After I waited that long to obtain the property, you’d think my parable today would be about patience. It could be, but it’s not. Instead, this little plot of land makes me think about having a dream.

But before I get into that, let me tell you why I love this land so much. I love it because it has a view of the valley, which is incredible at night. I love it because I can see three temples from the backyard, which brings me peace beyond comprehension to look at. I love it because I can envision a garden in the back that will teach me about labor and about stewardship. I love it because I can picture a red-brick home with white trim standing firm on the foundation; I probably won’t have a white picket fence, but I do hope to have a flagpole. I love it because I can picture that home having a library and an abundance of board games; I can picture it filled with family, friends, laughter, testimony, and love.

That little piece of property may look like it’s just a mound of dirt (and a plethora of rocks, which you can’t see here), but in reality, it’s filled with dreams. I don’t plan to build on it soon, but one day in the future it will see the reality of many of those dreams. This little land of mine, I’m going to let it shine.

Just like each new day we’re given; each new person we have the opportunity to meet, learn from, and grow together with; each new book we can read; and each new experience provided to us in our lives, this land is filled with possibilities and dreams that have yet to come to fruition. There’s a wonderful excitement that comes with having those dreams.

The world is waiting at our hands for us to create something new with what we have. I’d love to hear what you’re creating—just leave a comment.

My 07.08.09 at 10:11:12, plus a Web Site of the Week

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

Here’s my version of the 07.08.09 at 10:11:12 challenge.


And it’s time for another Web site of the week. Check out The graphics and animation on this site are based on the artful Bembos Zoo book by Roberto de Vicq de Cumptich. I love the way it blends typography and imagination into an animated art form. Here’s what you’ll find when you click on the letter “K.” The koala image is formed solely from letters in the word koala.


Today: 07.08.09 at 10:11:12

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

7.8.9Elizabeth Kartchner has a fun game to celebrate this day of wonderfully ascending sequential numbers. Check it out here. And if you need more motivation (if you’re familiar with Elizabeth Kartchner, that won’t be necessary), there’s a giveaway involved, too. Free prize, anyone?

The Parable of the Spiders

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009
Doodlebug Design Braddies,

I really could live without spiders, thank you very much. I didn’t need one greeting me this morning when I opened the pantry door to find my granola. I didn’t need one dropping down to say hello—just a few inches from my face—while I worked on the computer last night. In fact, I didn’t need one crawling across my duvet last month, and I didn’t need him then flying through the air when I turned down the covers without realizing he was there waiting for the ride of his life.

So you see, after discovering three spiders in less than 24 hours, this evening I found myself asking, once again, why do we need spiders? Yes, I know there are ecological reasons and that these arachnids play their part in the earth’s system. But I’ve still had to wonder if there could have been another solution. Until today. Tonight it hit me why Heavenly Father made spiders—and so many of them.

Every time I think of spiders and wonder about their creation, it reminds me that God created them. And then I am gently reminded that He created me, too. I may not fully understand the reason that spiders exist, but He does. Just as He who created me knows my full purpose and potential, too. I suppose the shivers that ensue each time a spider greets me unexpectedly are a small price to pay for that important reminder.

P.S. Since I couldn’t bring myself to post a picture of a real spider (eek!), I thought I’d share these gems: Spidies Braddies from Doodlebug Design. They’re one type of spider I wouldn’t mind crawling into my home each morning—especially when it’s time to scrapbook Halloween photos.

The Parable of the Carnival Observer, plus a 10-Minute Tale

Monday, July 6th, 2009


For the last several years, I celebrated the morning of the Fourth of July by helping with a carnival hosted by my singles ward (church congregation). The carnival is accompanied by a breakfast and parade, but I’ve never been able to participate in the parade because I volunteered at the carnival. I’d planned to volunteer this year as well, but I was precluded from doing so because of my cold (I didn’t want to pass it along to anyone else).

The carnival has become a tradition for my family, though, so I still attended—just on the observing side rather than the hosting side. At first it was strange to not help, but it was wonderful to participate with my family. I was able to watch the parade for the first time. It’s a small community parade, and it was a treat to see the kids with decorated bikes donned with streamers. We even saw ducks and goats strutting the red, white, and blue. At the carnival, I was able to walk around with my nephews as they played games instead of seeing their excitement only when they played games at the booths I hosted. And it was enjoyable to watch the community bonding instead of focusing on details to make sure everything was functioning well.

The role reversal left me thinking about how important it is to break outside our normal roles sometimes to enjoy a different perspective. I think that’s why Disneyland is such a popular place—we get to set aside the responsibilities of adulthood and simply play. That’s why reading is so pleasurable—it can take us to a different setting that allows us to momentarily put aside our concerns. It can be refreshing. Perhaps sometime this month we can all experience a little role reversal of sorts. If we’re normally the center of attention, we can see what it’s like to sit back and listen to others one night. If we’re normally the quiet one, we can try participating a little more. If we’re normally completely structured in our plans, we can set aside one night to be spontaneous, or vice versa. We may just enjoy being the carnival observer rather than the host.


Here’s a rundown of the rest of my holiday pursuits:
* Had brunch at IHOP after the carnival. Mmm.
* Saw Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs. I enjoyed the first two movies of the series, and this third movie did not disappoint.
* Enjoyed another parade—this time it was a larger city parade.
* Attended an outdoor concert. Sadly, the power went out after the first few numbers. It was restored about fifteen minutes before the fireworks. The downtime in between provided a great chance to talk, though.
* Watched the fireworks. After thinking about being an observer rather than assuming my usual role (in this case, a trigger-happy photographer), I took far fewer photos than normal. I typically watch the fireworks through the viewfinder of my camera. Last night I opted to enjoy them in the sky instead. I still took some photos, but the majority of the display was spent with my camera in my lap. It did feel refreshing.


10-Minute Tale: Recess
I think it’s time for a 10-minute tale. The topic: elementary-school recess. Recess was a haven for students during elementary school. Whether you played ball or hopscotch or ran for the swings, those fifteen minutes of freedom were the perfect escape. Have you ever recorded your fond memories from the playground? Now’s the time, and it will only take 10 minutes. There’s no pressure to be a Rowling or a Dickens. You don’t need tidy punctuation. Just record your story—that’s the part that matters. If you’re wondering what to record, think about the following:
* What did the playground look like?
* Where was the first place the students ran once you went outdoors?
* Were there days you couldn’t go outside because of weather or air quality?
* What were your favorite games to play?
* Who did you spend your recess time with?
* How did your choice of recess destinations change as you switched grades in elementary school?
Now that memories are flowing, it’s time to get started. Ready, you’ve got 10 minutes. Go!

[“Final Jeopardy” music plays 20 times.]

To see what I came up with, read here.

A Little Light Reading

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009

Mary Poppins book seriesBecause of the Fourth of July this weekend, not only do I have holiday time off tomorrow, but I also had the afternoon off today. What’s a girl to do with the afternoon off? I thought it would be great to see this, eat here, or enjoy this. Alas, I woke up with a cold that came out of nowhere, so I ended up here this afternoon eating chicken-noodle soup for lunch.

I figured I’d rest up in order to recover before the holiday, so I decided a little light reading would do the trick. I found some of the lightest reading in my library: a series of Mary Poppins children’s books. I picked up these books in Seattle a couple years ago and haven’t read them yet. I always purchase a book for a vacation souvenir. On that trip, I’d hoped to find one on blown glass, because I love that art form and visited a few blown-glass museums or art studios while I was there. Not able to find anything I liked on blown glass, this set of books caught my eye about thirty minutes before I headed to the airport. I knew they’d make a great set for the library I hope to have in my home. While the books don’t showcase blown glass, this series captured my vacation for two reasons: (1) Seattle seemed “practically perfect in every way” and has become one of my favorite cities, and (2) an umbrella, which is iconic with Mary Poppins, is the perfect representation for the Seattle rain. That’s how these four books made their way onto my bookshelf. And today I finally had a chance to peruse them. I’ve only made it through the first book, but it’s been a nice read. (Disney kept pretty true to it in the movie.)

Oh, and did you notice the title for this post? It links back to another book/movie series that I love. Any guesses?

The Parable of the Apologetic Driver, plus the Web Site of the Week

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009


Let’s kick off this post with the Web site of the week. I can’t think of a better site to begin this series than with the blog of the amazingly talented Jennifer McGuire: Talk about inspiration! Her site has adorable cards and scrapbook layouts, great technique tips, helpful videos, and loads of fun. Plus, she constantly provides great links to other inspirational projects. Jennifer writes the Tools & Techniques column in Creating Keepsakes magazine each month (in addition to designing for Hero Arts, among others). Every time I see her projects, I instantly want to scrapbook. Her artwork is fabulously fresh and delightfully doable to copy, though I can’t imagine how she comes up with all her creative ideas. Plus, she is one of the sweetest people in the world—a 100% genuinely good soul who I feel incredibly grateful to count among my friends. I think you’ll sense her amazing personality as you visit her site. So stop by, look around, and subscribe to her RSS feed—it’s like a ray of sunshine each time you see her latest post. (Yes, I realize how cheesy that sounds, but giving any credit less than that simply wouldn’t be true.)

Now for the parable of the day. Last night when I was driving around town, a man cut me off only to swerve back into his original lane when he realized I was there, wait for me to pass, and then proceed to the lane on the opposite side of me. We came to a stoplight and ended up side by side. Normally when other drivers cut me off and I have the opportunity to stare them down as we are side by side, I don’t look over. I figure they made an honest mistake (very true in this case), so I don’t want them to think I’m bitter toward them if I look over. I just try to let it be. But for some reason, I looked over at this man. He had been waiting for me to look over, and he said, “I am so sorry.” (Thank goodness for lip-reading.) I said, “It’s okay,” and we both went on our merry way.

Truth be told, I was caught off guard by the apology. I appreciated that he had taken the time to look over and wait for me to look back so he could apologize. I wondered if I had missed the opportunity to experience that same process in the past because I never looked at the other drivers who have cut me off. I thought I’d been kind by not drawing their attention, but I realized tonight that I may have left them feeling guilty that I thought they’d cut me off on purpose.

I can’t help but think how often we may do that with other people who cross our paths. How often are people waiting to say, “I’m sorry,” or “I didn’t mean to,” and we don’t give them the chance to do it? Perhaps we need to stop staring at the stoplight, waiting for it to turn green so we can speed ahead of the other driver, and look over to make sure the other driver can be heard. Sure, we’ll probably run into drivers who aren’t waiting for us to look at them, but sometimes there will be a driver waiting to say, “I’m sorry,” and they’ll be grateful we gave them a chance. I think we’ll be grateful, too, because last night my heart was softened instead of left bitter—and I think I was the one who benefited most from the moment.

P.S. These three articles came to mind as I thought about this subject: this newspaper article, this address (where I first learned of the newspaper article), and this address. They’re great reads if you want to study more on forgiveness.